Mainstreaming Wetlands into the Climate Agenda: A multi-level approach (SWAMP-II)

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The Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP) is a collaborative effort by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and Oregon State University with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). SWAMP evolved from a multi-stakeholder exercise called the Tropical Wetlands Initiative for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (TWINCAM), when the group was called to respond to a variety of challenges requested by stakeholders, ranging from local to global imperatives of sustainable wetlands management. Carbon-rich mangroves and peatlands are high priorities in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies throughout the world. Tropical wetlands provides a wide range of ecosystem services, such as supporting services (nutrient cycling, soil formation, primary production), provisioning services (food, fiber and fuel), regulating services (pollution, flood and erosion control, carbon/climate), and cultural services (education and recreational). High rates of tree and plant growth coupled with low-oxygenated, water-logged soils in mangrove forests and peatlands may offset the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) through long-term storage of carbon (C). Preliminary studies have demonstrated that carbon stocks in these ecosystems are among the highest of any forest type. However, most countries do not have sufficient information to include wetlands in their national reporting to the United Nations nor to develop plans for avoiding GHG emissions from wetland conservation. To better understand the C-dynamics in these ecosystems, USFS and CIFOR have further developed a collaborative agenda by involving their partners. By employing robust scientific approaches and methodologies, SWAMP is expected to generate knowledge that is relevant to policymakers and practitioners regarding the sustainable management of wetlands in the face of changing global climate and livelihoods of local community. The Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP) and its predecessor The Wetlands Initiative for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (TWINCAM) program have been implemented for 10 years now. They were designed to meet an ambitious goal, to generate credible wetlands science for public policy-making. These collaborative programs between CIFOR and USFS have been generously supported by USAID and implemented in almost 30 countries across the tropics. SWAMP continues to generate knowledge to be delivered to policy community and other decision- making bodies thanks to new funding from USAID. The specific objectives of this new phase of SWAMP are: (1) Generate new multi-disciplinary knowledge in wetland science to identified current gaps, such as wetlands and climate change feedbacks (e.g. release of soil carbon in peats) or the role of wetlands in improving the resilience of coastal communities against extreme disturbances (fires, hurricanes, droughts, and spontaneous dieback); (2) Inform global stakeholders on the advances of wetland science to help shape their climate change and risk reduction agendas; (3) Work with national stakeholders to identify governance arrangements (including policy design and implementation) across multiple levels that will enhance resource sustainability as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation, including innovative financing mechanisms; (4) Support local stakeholders by building their capacity to implement direct actions on the ground to achieve sustainable and equitable livelihoods and enhance their resilience.

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